The role of teachers in teaching children has declined for many years. The teacher stands in front of the classroom by the white or blackboard and communicates information for children to learn through repetition.
Success is judged on children’s abilities to remember this information and use it within strict time limits. While this might produce academically smart children, they may end up lacking in other skills vital today to become employable.
Let’s ask ourselves, isn’t it time we brought education into the 21st century?
Today, teachers do more for our children than simply teach them. Their role is not only to educate them, but also counsel them, be their friend when they need one, be a shoulder to cry on and help them become valuable members of society.
It’s time for teachers to embrace their new role in the classroom as a mentor to children. Teachers can guide students by being a positive role model for them. This is particularly for children that don’t have a positive influence at home.
By incorporating a teacher-mentor mentality in the classroom, teachers can coach students and encourage them to adapt learning methods to suit their own learning style. This therefore challenges and inspires them to learn.
The world is changing – we have seen huge technological changes over the past few years. The introduction of global influences and access unheard of 30 years ago, such as today’s children, like adults, having smartphones in their pockets. Allowing them 24/7 access to the information highway of the internet. Everything they possibly want to know can be found on a Wikipedia page. So how can a teacher possibly compete with that?
As children get older, students soon find that they can skip going to lectures as they can access the same information online in YouTube videos and webpages. It’s time therefore to realise we need to change the way we teach children to stay up to date.
Children can find out everything about a subject online, but that may not even be the most thought-provoking or interesting way to learn the material. This is where teachers can step in and present the material in a new way. Technology can be used to guide children’s learning and engage them in lessons, rather than simply providing knowledge to them.
Changing the role of a teacher from the ‘front of all knowledge’ or a mere instructor, to a mentor or coach instead will lead children to become more conscious of their learning. Also becoming more independent and active in the process and inspire them to become lifelong learners.
No longer do we need to rely only on the syllabus to teach knowledge to children. Globalisation opens a whole new world for children. It gives them access and information they could only have dreamed of 30 years ago.
It is time teachers move away from teaching what to think and learn, to showing how to think and learn.